Wildland Firefighting in the National Scenic Area

Wondering About Current Vacancies? 

You can always create a profile and search in the federal USA Jobs hiring website as a way to look for opportunities. 

The Forest Service is now hiring for 2020 seasonal fire positions. Apply by Sept. 30, 2019.

In general, plan on applying in late summer or fall for the following summer. Read more tips on how to apply

About Our Fire Team

Two people silhouetted against a burning fire at night.Wildland firefighters in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area perform tough work in primitive, backcountry conditions. Our fire staff are experienced, competent, flexible, and highly qualified. Our core values of DutyRespectIntegrity, and Safety help us align ourselves among the best wildland fire management units both regionally and nationally. 

  • Duty. Accomplishing assigned tasks is the core of our operational effectiveness. 
  • Integrity. Personnel are required to accomplish an assigned task to a specific, high standard with minimal supervision. 
  • Respect. The ability of a team to accomplish an assigned task can only be achieved by recognizing and valuing the contribution of the individual. 
  • Safety is our number one priority at all times, merging with Duty, Respect, and Integrity to create a cohesive and safe work environment. 

Firefighters must meet specific requirements for each kind of job, while staying in top physical condition. We follow standards set by the Fire and Aviation Management Qualifications Handbook (FSH 5109.17). We respond aggressively to suppress the vast majority of fires in the Scenic Area, where homes and important infrastructure are often at risk. We have a heavy fire load, averaging more than 50 fires per year. During peak fire season, firefighters may be reassigned to one of the cooperator's duty stations or may be sent on long duration assignments away from home that last two or more weeks. 

Engine crews are based in Hood River, Cascade Locks or on our state cooperator engines in Husum, Stevensen and The Dalles and are primarily responsible for responding to fires within the Columbia River Gorge and the surrounding area. Engine crewmembers and Hand Crew modules may be dispatched to off-forest assignments from the Scenic Area. 

Hand Crew positions are located in Cascade Locks and respond to fires locally as well as nationally. The crew averages more than 50 days on fire assignments throughout the Western United States, as well as many additional days on fires with the Columbia River Gorge. Crewmembers are expected to be available for the vast majority of the fire season for long duration assignments away from home of two or more weeks. A dispatch can happen with little or no notice. 

Engine and Handcrew modules will various tasks and assignments, with the priority being emergency response. When not engaged in emergency response, modules are expected to complete targeted fuels projects and assist other staff areas on the Scenic Area to meet objectives involving scenic, recreational, natural, or cultural assets. Fitness is absolutely vital to our job. We take pride in our PT Program and ensure that dedicated time and energy is spent productively. 

Visit the National Fire and Aviation website for more on Fire Jobs in the Forest Service.


The initial training of a Firefighter is a national standard one-week Fire School that encases S-130, S-190, L-180, and I-100, in other applicable skills. Beyond that, training is On the Job (OTJ), and follows the S-Course curriculum and Position Task Book (PTB) system for further advancement of qualifications and skills. Training opportunities are based on unit need and individual merit.

Training certificates and employee fire history will be maintained in the Incident Qualification Certification System (IQCS).  The information in IQCS is directly linked to ROSS (Resource Ordering and Status System), which is the national database for resource ordering and tracking. If you have come from another unit, please have your training records available. Employees must keep a personal record of their training and experience.  

Our Fire Management Program 

A firefighter walks near piles that are burning for a prescribed fire treatment,The mission of Columbia River Gorge Fire Management (CGF) is to provide land management agencies with safe, highly skilled, and productive wildland fire management resources. The Columbia River Gorge, as a fire environment, is challenging and dynamic, and so our Fire staff are experienced, competent, flexible, and highly qualified, following standards set by the Fire and Aviation Management Qualifications Handbook (FSH 5109.17).  No two fires are ever alike, and resource protection and management objectives are often highly complex. With our wind and slope regimes, extreme fire behavior isn’t a rarity. These are all part of what makes our job unique and our unit an excellent place to work. Learn more about our fire management program....